Respected Air Force General E. John Teichert is under attack from a liberal organization for the recent profession of his Christian faith.
A new complaint filed by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) states the commanding brigadier general “should be doing time behind prison bars” for his admittance that he believes in God and prays for the country, the ACLJ reports.
MRFF’s legal counsel Donald Rehkopf called the prayer and faith “unconstitutional, illegal, and prejudicial.”
Their issue is that the General has a personal website that includes his profession of his Christian faith, as well as a list of prayer topics which includes praying for, inter alia, the President and our leaders, “the unborn”, and “a change in our national spirit.”
According to MRFF, he is using his position of authority to unjustly influence those who serve under him. The complaint explicitly claims that some servicemen in General Teichert’s command live in “mortal fear” because they do not share his religious beliefs.
Yet the complaint fails to give a single specific example of General Teichert actually doing any of the many things they charge. Their position seems to be that, just because he is a General Officer, his public profession of faith is somehow oppressing the soldiers that serve under him.
As stated in their formal complaint sent to Secretary of Defense James Mattis:
MRFF is confident that Brig Gen Teichert’s conduct herein is unconstitutional, illegal, and prejudicial. Here the prejudice is abundantly present, pernicious, and palpable.
The legal complaint then confusingly says a restriction on the First Amendment disallows Christian tenets: “If a religious tenet requires e.g., a human sacrifice to “cleanse one’s soul,” the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause would not provide a viable defense to a criminal homicide charge.”
The ACLJ defended the general and called the complaint “outlandish and absurd—but not unexpected.”
“It clearly mimics past MRFF complaints. MRFF has a clear vendetta against anyone who expresses his or her Christian faith in the U.S. military,” the ACLJ continued.
The ACLJ sent their own letter to Secretary Mattis in response:
The ACLJ just sent our own legal letter to Secretary Mattis defending General Teichert.
At the outset, we must admit it is difficult to know exactly where to start to refute the many false allegations and legal misstatements contained in Mr. Rehkopf’s letter. As we will show below, Mr. Rehkopf imputes impure motives to General Teichert and alleges harm based on his and MRFF’s hypersensitivity to religious expression by persons in uniform. When Mr. Rehkopf encounters a religious view expressed by General Teichert, he automatically assumes that such a view translates into policies and actions that denigrate and discriminate against the service members and DoD civilian employees under General Teichert’s command who hold contrary views. Mr. Rehkopf cited no actual policy or action on General Teichert’s part that has harmed any service member or civilian at Edwards AFB or elsewhere.
The MRFF has recently complained to the Department of Defense Inspector General over the presence of a Christian Bible in a POW/MIA display.
The group called the Bible “a slap in the face” to non-Christians and subsequently demanded it be removed:
Recently we told you how MRFF filed a formal complaint to the U.S. Navy because a Bible and a bi-lingual placard explaining its significance were part of a POW/MIA Display at the Marine Corps Base Camp Butler in Okinawa, Japan.
They wanted the Bible removed because, according to their complaint, its very presence was “a slap in the face to every non-Christian (American or Japanese) person who enters the Galley and is confronted with this illicit Display of fundamentalist, Christian exceptionalism, domination and supremacy.”
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
— Jay Sekulow (@JaySekulow) August 30, 2018